LAKELAND - Florida Southern showed no ill effects of playing its third match in less than 48 hours here Sunday afternoon as the Moccasins swept Lincoln Memorial (25-16, 25-17, 25-16) in three sets in non-conference volleyball action at Jenkins Field House.
The Mocs, who extended its win streak at Jenkins Field House to five straight matches with Sunday's victory, used an efficient offense and strong defense to improve its season record to 13-6 overall and collect its second three-set win on the weekend. On Friday, the Mocs defeated Rollins in three sets in Sunshine State Conference play at Winter Park.
"I was pleased with the way our team came out strong today and responded after last night's tough loss at Florida Tech," Mocs head coach Jill Stephens said. "We were focused and executed our game plan well."
One of the biggest keys for the Mocs in its win on Sunday was its offense as they recorded 44 kills and hit over .300 for the second straight match. Against LMU, the Mocs hit .315 after hitting .329 in its heartbreaking five-set loss on Saturday at Florida Tech. Additionally, the Mocs defense recorded six blocks, had 50 digs and served 12 aces on the day.
"I thought our offense was very efficient today and I thought we played great defense and made it hard for them (LMU) to kill the ball," the Mocs coach added following the 70-minute match.
Sophomore right side hitter Gabby Fernandez (Tampa, Fla.) led a balanced offensive attack for the Mocs as finished with 11 kills and hit .455 after having just one error on 22 attack attempts. For the match, six Mocs had five or more kills on the day.
In addition to Fernandez, senior outside hitter Anne Pietkiewicz (Winter Park, Fla.) had eight kills and added 11 digs, while freshman middle blocker Kayshia Brady (Crescent City, Fla.), junior setter Ali Skayhan (Beaverton, Ore.) and freshman outside hitter Hailey Prescher (Dana Point, Calif.) all added six kills in the win. Junior middle blocker Dominique Hale (Kingman, Ariz.) chipped in with five kills and three blocks.
The Mocs responded early in the match with strong starts in the first two sets as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and pushed out to a 3-0 lead in the second set. In the first set, the Mocs turned that 4-0 lead into a 19-11 advantage following an ace by Skayhan, who finished with three for the match to go along with her 30 assists, .462 hitting percentage and 13 digs for her team-leading 13th double-double. The Railsplitters, who fell to 12-6 with the loss, would pull within 19-12, before the Mocs closed the set by scoring six of the final 10 points.
In the second set, the Mocs jumped in front 3-0 and led 12-5 when the Railsplitters used a 5-3 scoring run to pull within 15-10 following a kill by Blaire Fowler. Fowler's kill forced a timeout by the Mocs. After that timeout, the Mocs would push its lead to 20-14 following a kill by Fernandez. LMU would answer with two quick points, before the Mocs scored five of the set's final six points, includuing freshman outside hitter Bridgette Ward (Fort Myers, Fla.) ending the set with an ace. Ward finished with a career-best three aces in the match.
The Railsplitters made things interesting in the third set as they took their first lead of the match on a kill by Jennifer Drumm just three points into the set. The Mocs, though, would respond with two straight points to take a 3-2 lead, before LMU used a 3-1 run to take a 5-4 lead. That would be the Railsplitters final lead of the match as the Mocs used a 10-6 run to take a 14-11 lead. The run was capped by another service ace from Skayhan. Following Skayhan's ace, LMU scored two straight points to pull within 14-13, but the Mocs would seal the win by scoring 11 of the set's final 14 points, including capping the victory with a kill from Prescher.
LMU had four players record five kills in the match as they finished with 27 on the day. Casey Mense was one of the four Railsplitters to record five kills as she also added a match-high 14 digs in the loss. LMU finished the match with a .135 hitting percentage.
The Mocs will have little time to rest as they return to action on Tuesday, Oct. 9 with a 7 p.m. SSC match at Saint Leo. Following the Saint Leo match, the Mocs return home to close out the first half of league play by hosting Nova Southeastern on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. The team will celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month by wearing pink jerseys in the match against the Sharks.